Super Smash Brothers Haiku

Feature Pic

I’m a fan of Super Smash Brothers, as are a lot of gamers.  I’ve been enjoying the newest Smash Brothers lately, and I wanted to show my love for the series by honoring each character with their own Haiku.  Below are Haiku for every single character in the latest Smash Brothers.  I hope they elicit a laugh or two.  Let me know which is your favorite.


Bowser Jr

The Clown Copter is

A nice nostalgic touch, but

I hate you.  Pick Roy.



The King of Koopas

Grab, belly flop over edge

Such majesty, grace


Captain Falcon

Flaming Bird-Shaped Punch

Always shaking, too much strength

Show them all your moves



What is this garbage?

Where’s Squirtle and Ivysaur?

What a waste of space.


Dark Pit

Are you kidding me?

Why is he not a Pit skin?

Attack of the Clones.



Peanut guns, jet packs,

Banana Peels, Monkey Flips.

Give me that sweet hat.


Donkey Kong

He’s finally back

Throwing punches like a boss

Ties are for closers.


Dr Mario

Final smash is trash

Put this doc in with his pills



Duck Hunt

Your haunting laughter

Redemption: Smashing your face

I can now move on



Though he’s still a jerk

I guess I should be thankful

Slippy isn’t here



Fast and in your face

Not much has changed over time

But tank, no Arwing?



Choke till you explode

Big boot to your pearly whites

Evil represent



Stupid frog ninja

Why are you in Smash Brothers?

Had to Google you



Was hoping for Chrom

Cheap Up Smash, but we like Ike

He fights for his friends.



YES! Fly and go Pound!

Jiggly brings the pain unless

Hold shield till KO


King Dedede

That robe ain’t that big

Where does he keep those Gordos?

I don’t want to know…



Marshmellow hero

Will eat you, then run off cliff

Can’t stay mad; too cute!



Link has brought his pants

His air game has been neutered

Still screams a whole lot


Little Mac

Favorite is here!

If Mike Tyson were in Smash

I’d finally win.



Don’t like Kung Fu dog

Rewards players for sucking

That’s socialism



Was so excited

But turned out to be Marth clone

Most disappointing



Epic uppercut

Has running sissy punches

1 in 10 failure



 Flame-throwing plumber

 Most lithe fatty in Brooklyn

Get rid of F.L.U.D.D., please



Still in Smash, I see

‘Cause popular in Japan

Would rather have Chrom


Mega Man

Run and spin like top

I like to play Crash Bomb tag

Wish Rush was used more


Meta Knight

Hockey mask, Bat Wings

Tornado of swirling swords

Everyone picks him


Mii Fighters

To be quite honest

I haven’t played as these guys

Much better choices


Mr Game and Watch

Flicking sausages

Ring the bell incessantly

Lose all of your friends



Physic, big-head boy

Fights with fire, bats, yo-yos

Lightning in his butt



From six down to three

Less Pikmin to throw and kill

Small souls floating up



I like to throw fruit

Fire hydrant on the edge

New and old forms: Win



Counter, reflect? Yuck.

Twirls ’round staff like stripper pole

Cheap in every sense



Where does she hide Toad?

Hearts, rainbows and pink ribbons

Flying butt-splosion



Pikachu still sucks

I can’t follow up with him

Fights last forever



Fiery brass knuckles

Not as spammy as in Brawl

Still sounds like a girl



Always be spinning

Beware the red blinking light

Scary, soulless eyes



Floating lightning sword

Tag teaming with Chrom owns all

Wasteful towards books



If you and Luma

Can act independantly

Why no Ice Climbers?



So much explosions

Projectiles keep pressure on

Roll up and ax kick



Quick combo master

Run, exploding teleport

Whip pisses friends off



Smash is Major Leagues

Only legends need apply

Come back in ten years



Being fast is fun

Leave trampolines everywhere

Final Smash is broke


Toon Link

Just like Link except

Smaller and cell shad-ier

Easier to launch



Plant and water tree

Going down; yelling “Timber!”

Ride rocket off stage



Smooth animations

Motorcycles and farts make

My opponenets die


Wii Fit Trainer

Lots of whistling

Attacks hit in both directions

And always so chill



New stance works for me

Really enjoy big Yoshi glitch

Hope they never patch



Now separated

From Shiek, the reason to choose

Never use again


Zero Suit Samus

Too sexy for me

Feel like pervert when playing

This is Nintendo!?


FEZ – Sucks in All Dimensions

Fez Feature

Okay, I don’t normally do this, but I’m stopping you right here.  DO NOT read this article if you haven’t played FEZ.  I’m going to be talking about some things that – even having heard mention of them – will definitely take away from the FEZ experience.  So, here’s a summary of my feelings for the game up front:

FEZ is an incredible experience yet a mediocre game.  It’s difficult to recommend as its unprecedented dependence on its players’ privilege and prior, non-game related knowledge greatly deters players.  If you’re a fan of platformers, there’s some fun to be had in this collect-a-thon, though the rotating mechanic’s novelty will diminish sooner rather than later.  If you’re a completionist, stay away!  The latter puzzles are insanely cryptic, unfair, and nigh impossible, especially if you have no programming or coding knowledge (like me).

Well, with that out of the way, I want to talk about some FEZ!  This article is meant for people who’ve already played through FEZ, so I’ll be approaching mechanics and puzzles under the assumption that the reader’s already familiar with these things.  Another great reason why you shouldn’t read this if you haven’t play the game yet!

But, seriously, if you haven’t played it yet, don’t read this or anything else online about it.  It will legitimately ruin things for you.

Fez CoverGame: FEZ

Platform: XBLA, Steam, PC, PSN

Developer: Polytron

Publisher: Trapdoor (PSN)

Release Year: 2012

I want to lay this out there: I had NO IDEA what I was getting myself into when I downloaded FEZ.  I saw it when if first came out, thought it looked cool, and then ignored it until it came to a platform I wanted to play it on. The only things I knew about FEZ is that it looked like a cutesy platformer and Phil Fish was kind of a childish, unprofessional prick.  Considering I’m those things, too (the Phil Fish things, not the cutesy platformer thing.  One can only dream…), I didn’t let it bother me.  I’m pretty good at separating the art from the artist.


I’m sure he meant to put “at” after “worst.” If that’s the case, I’m guilty as charged!

I snatched FEZ up when it finally released on the Vita!  I downloaded it, played through to the end, got the New Game +, restarted, got stuck, and went to the internet to find solutions.

This was my greatest mistake in playing FEZ.


Other than actually paying for the game, that is.

Since the game’s laid out like a Metroid-vania, I assumed I’d get upgrades as I played, allowing access to the copious blocked paths found during my journey.  Unfortunately, this was not the case.  I finished the game, got a sweet pair of shades, and that was it.  No upgrades at all: no missiles, no transformations, no options, no sweet Mexican wrestling moves.  All I got was some sun glasses that let me go into First-person mode.  What the crap will that do for me?


Other than make me look freaking awesome, of course!

Befuddled, I sat there and stared at the in-game map (which is a horrendous mess, by the way) and lamented at all the purple question marks that indicated I haven’t discovered a secret in that room yet.  I went to each room, scoured it in first-person mode, and left just as confused as I had been when I entered.  I felt stupid and hopeless; thus, a prime candidate for the Internet!


Everyone on the Internet is [insert racist/sexist remark here]!

I looked up some stuff and discovered there was another layer to FEZ I had no idea existed.  Up to that point, I had only thought the puzzles in the game were related to platforming and rotating.  I had no idea the game had its own language and number system!


This single picture will help you solve most of the latter puzzles in the game.

As I played, I kept seeing weird writings on the walls that I felt I should be able to read.  I just didn’t know it was my responsibility to figure out how to read the stuff myself!  Seriously, there was no indication that you should learn to read the stuff, let alone an obvious means of learning how to read it!  The game’s sole clue is vague and obscure at best and downright worthless at worst.  You know the clue I’m talking about:

Fez (7)

An obvious reference to Disney’s The Fox and the Hound!  Quick!  Grab the VHS, pull out the film, and run it backwards under a lamp!

When I saw the fox jumping over the dog in the forest, it got my attention, but I didn’t think it was important (mainly because I didn’t know they were a fox and a dog).  Oh, it was important, all right.  It’s pretty much the crux of the latter part of the game!  You know the old typist learning tool:

“The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.” 

That sentence contains every letter in the English alphabet.  Combine that with another obscure clue you saw in an in-game classroom that reveals reading the text requires you to rotate the text 90 degrees, and you have yourself the game’s alphabet!  The stone column the animals are next to is the game’s Rosetta Stone!

There are so many reasons why this revelation is awesome and why it’s terrible.  It’s awesome because WOW!  Really?  Well played, Polytron!  That was really cool!  I especially like how old school it feels: no hand holding, just your intellect kicking ass!  Too bad I wasn’t smart enough to discover it on my own…

So this is why I have so many friends!

Now, let’s talk about why it’s terrible.  First, not everybody knows that sentence and its significance.  Some of my colleagues hadn’t even heard of that sentence.  Second, that sentence only holds importance to English speakers.  If you don’t speak English, you will never figure out that puzzle, which effectively dashes the hopes of completing this game.



And there lies the biggest problem with FEZ: it expects too much from the player.  Not only do you have to know English, but you’d have to have taken a typing class to know the Fox sentence.  In later puzzles, you have to know how to convert blinking lights into binary, translate that to hexadecimal,  and then convert that to ASCII.  I have a Master’s Degree, and I barely know what any of that prior sentence means!



Then there’s the monolith puzzle. My, God.  This beast stumped the Gaming Community for weeks.  I’m so used to getting on the internet to find solutions; I can’t believe there was a significant amount of time when this puzzle went unsolved.  The community finally cracked it with brute force (randomly pressing button combinations until they found the right one), but it wouldn’t be until much later when somebody actually found the way to obtain the solution.


Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh… Now it makes sense?

It was neat to see the gaming community ban together and tackle this ridiculously difficult puzzle.  But apparently the battle isn’t over yet.  There are people out there convinced that not everything has been seen in FEZ yet.  Since the game is so cryptic and obscure, it’s hard not to be a little skeptical.  I mean, what’s the Skull Artifact for?  And what’s the deal with the Heart Cube?  Does anything happen after you break the Heart Cube apart?  Has anyone legitimately figured out how to obtain the button combination needed to break the Heart Cube?  What’s with the stereoscopic view?  Does that reveal anything?  Why can Gomez inexplicably fly after starting a new game plus?


Shades, motherfucker!  Shades!

And that’s what makes FEZ so compelling: There’s so much mystery that’s still unsolved after nearly 2 years!  I just can’t accept that in this day and age.  However, Renaud Bédard, FEZ‘s programmer, has remained tight-lipped whenever he’s asked if there’s more to be discovered.

In any case, I’ve completed FEZ with a 209.4% completion rating (whatever that means).  Now that I’ve done everything (known) there is to do in the game, I feel ambivalent. On one hand, I can appreciate everything the game did as a game: the graphics were great, the music was superb, and the platforming was okay if not a little too easy.  On the other hand, I’ve mixed feelings about its “meta game” aspect.

As a meta game, I loved how it broke the fourth wall and spilled out into the real world in the form of player-made tools.  It’s also amazing how it brought a community together, reminiscent of gaming’s nascence and how we all congregated in cafeterias and playgrounds in order to solve some of gaming’s first puzzles.  However, I have to calls ’em how I sees ’em, and the latter puzzles in FEZ are completely terrible and poorly designed.  They require too much outside knowledge from the player.  And don’t forget resources!  Though hard to believe, not everybody has a smartphone.


Rich and privileged English-Speaking programmers was the demographic you were trying to reach, then?

But does that mean Fez‘s puzzles are bad?  Sure, they’re poorly designed, but that’s by gaming standards.  FEZs avante-garde puzzles are energizing and brutal, and they show exactly how gaming as a medium can define itself from other art forms as well as redefine itself within its own genre.

fart_in_wetsuitWhoa.  Pretension overload.  Here’s a fart joke to bring you back down.

So my ambivalence for FEZ is born from the fact that – despite knowing the platforming was mediocre, despite knowing the puzzles were poorly designed and bias, and despite my frustration with the game’s possible incompleteness – I still freaking love it!

I spent an entire weekend with the game, and I’ve never been so engaged!  I became steeped in its culture, researched everything I could online, and delved deeply into the rabbit hole that is FEZ‘s world.  The game sparked my imagination like no other as I tried to decipher its back story from pictures on the wall.  FEZ offers so much by only using visuals, and that’s something incredible that I can’t deny.

So… my final verdict?  I said it at the beginning of the article: it’s an okay game yet an outstanding experience that I can’t recommend.  FEZ can only be truly appreciated by English-speaking players with very, very keen eyes for detail.  Being able to refrain from using the internet to figure out the meta part of the game is key to your enjoyment as well.  Had I been clever enough to have discovered the alphabet myself, perhaps I would have a different view of this game.  Though, I doubt it.  The game’s biases are just too flagrant.


Also, creepy owls.

Thanks for your Playing!  What do you guys think about FEZ?  Was I too harsh on the meta aspect?  Leave me overly complex clues telling me your thoughts in the comments!

Video Credit – PlayStation

Double Dragon Neon – Successors of Badass!

DDN Feature

A while back, I wrote an article about one of my favorite video games of all time, Double Dragon.  It was one of my first articles ever, and I wrote it to celebrate the franchise’s 25th anniversary.  Of course, I wasn’t the only person who recognized this milestone.  WayForward Technologies, one of my favorite modern-day developers, released a download-only title to commemorate and resurrect the franchise, Double Dragon Neon.  Unfortunately, I didn’t play Neon when it first released, so I pined for its badass embrace for two long years before I finally got a chance to play it.

Was the wait worth it?  Does Neon do the Double Dragon legacy justice?  There’s only one way to find out!  It’s time for some Bro-op!  Let’s win back our girl!


Game: Double Dragon Neon

Console: PSN, XBLA, Microsoft Windows

Developer: WayForward Technologies; Abstraction Games (PC)

Publisher: Majesco Entertainment; Midnight City

Release Year: 2012

As you can no doubt gather from the above trailer, Double Dragon Neon harkens back to a time when mullets weren’t just the subject of ridicule and overly bright pastel colors weren’t only okay for men to wear, but encouraged.  That’s right; DDN is a sinewy love letter to the 80s!  From its eye-scorching aesthetics to its embarrassingly liberal use of the age’s slang, DDN plays up the Reagan Era as if Mother Russia were back on the attack!

Its devotion to the 80s extends past its graphics and can be heard and seen in its corny quips and outrageous set pieces.  The whole experience is reminiscent of Saturday Morning Cartoons, a staple for 80s and 90s kids, and seems nostalgic and new all at once, which is a pretty impressive feat.  More impressive is the fact that the game is actually quite funny.  There were many moments when I couldn’t help but crack up.  For instance, there’s a part when Billy and Jimmy are in Outer Space and resolve that holding their breath will protect them.  And it totally does!

Hold Breath

Because – let’s face it – we were all dumb as hell in the 80s.

DDN‘s jocular approach is almost disrespectful to the Double Dragon name.  The key word here being “almost.”  I’d be pretty upset if it weren’t so damn funny!  Needless to say, DDN is satirical by nature, as is apparent with the game’s over-the-top action.


That’s one way to attack with a helicopter…

And then there’s Skullmageddeon, the Skeletor-sounding antagonist that exhales hilarity with each and every fourth-wall-breaking line of dialogue he delivers.


Ironically, he’s been in my dreams ever since…

Skullmageddon is introduced in the second stage and heckles you via PA systems throughout the rest of the game, mocking the brothers and poking fun at video game tropes all the while.  The stuff he says when you pause the game during the final battle is incredibly humorous (“When I’m about to swing my sword, just punch me and I’ll stop. There, I just saved you a trip to the internet.”), but it’s the sorrowful lament he croons during the ending credits that wins at Video Games.

*Sniff* Don’t stop dreamin’, big guy.

And the rest of the game’s music is just as good!  DDN‘s soundtrack (which you can totally download for free, courtesy of the game’s composer and sound designer, Jack Kaufman) is balls awesome!  Though, you’d already know that if you’d read my thoughts on the matter in The g1 Best Ever Soundtrack article I was a part of.  To sum it up, the soundtrack complements the game’s tongue-in-cheek self-awareness while simultaneously sounding straight-up awesome!  Some level tracks have vocals (and they’re cheesy and amazing, by the way), but it’s the remixed/rearranged tracks from the original game I love the most.  My favorite is Kaufman’s Surf-Rock rendition of the “Palace Theme” from the original Double Dragon.

Anyone else suddenly feel like kicking ass with the Beach Boys?

Caricature of the 80s?  Check.  Successful at being funny? Check.  Sweet tunes?  Check.  Looks like we have the makings of something truly badass here.  We’re just missing one ingredient: Fighting!  So does Double Dragon Neon have fighting in it?  YOU BET YOUR SWEET AUNT MATILDA’S ASS IT DOES!

Aunt Matilda

Don’t mess with Aunt Matilda.  She has a Dragon Tattoo under that shawl.

DDN‘s combat is as you’d expect from a Beat-Em-Up: Simple.  But don’t mistake simple as being bad.  You can punch, kick, jump, and grab.  There are also special moves you can equip, such as a hadouken-like projectile or summoning a screen-clearing dragon.  Though you can only have one special move equipped at a time, it does add some variety.


Suck it, Falcor!

Where the game shines (pun totally intended) is with its dodge system.  Dodging does just that: dodges.  But, if done right, you get “The Gleam.”

The Gleam

Close.  Think “Whiter.”

Duck right when an attack is thrown, and a red sheen will envelope your body.


Now who’s the baddest mofo low down around this town?

The Gleam temporarily doubles your attack power, adding a sweet risk/reward factor to every fight.  Dodging and activating the Gleam provides much needed strategy to a potentially repetitive game, thus keeping it fresher longer.  The plethora of weapons you get along the way helps in shaking up things as well.  But the real fun comes with the boss fights.

The bosses aren’t too difficult, yet they’re challenging enough to warrant your undivided attention.  If you’re not watching closely, you may miss your chance to get in and do some real damage.  The Gleam becomes essential during boss fights, so you’ll need to figure out their patterns.  My favorite boss is the plant monster that’s a cross between Audrey II from The Little Shop of Horrors, a T-Rex, and a shark.

Yup.  It’s as glorious as it sounds.  Plant BossI’m a mean, green mother from outer space, and I’m bad!

Another intricacy that adds more flavor to battles are Stances.  There are several Stances, and each gives specific stat boosts and/or passive abilities, e.g. increase your defense or let you absorb life with each attack you land.  Stances can enhance your play style, and they can be leveled up by collecting cassette tapes (the music format before CDs, kids).  Furthermore, you can increase the amount of tapes you can collect for each Stance by upgrading in the game’s shops.  These shops can only be accessed by replaying levels, which is really annoying.


All shops should have fire billowing behind the shopkeeper.

In addition to replaying levels to visit shops, I have a few other complaints.  First off, I understand DDN is spoofing the 80s, but did they really have to include the stupid, cute character that so many 80s movies just had to make room for even though nobody but little kids liked them, despite the fact that kids shouldn’t be watching the movie anyway because it’s too violent?  I’m obviously referring to Fuzz Face.

Fuzz FaceYour existence feels like a kick in the balls.

Seriously?  Why did so many 80s movies have this annoying character?  Even Rocky IV had that goddamn robot.

Rocky Robot

Goddamn you, Robot!

Secondly, for a game that’s supposed to paint Billy and Jimmy as badasses, they sure do beat up a bunch of women.  I’d say about 50% of the enemies are female.  I’m not trying to sound sexist, but it’s a little weird beating on chicks when you’ve been told “Boys don’t hit Girls” all your life.


The Lee Brothers call this play “The Chris Brown.”

Lastly, in the concept art that unlocks after beating the game there’s some art depicting what is unmistakably mogwai and gremlins.  That’s bullshit, WayFoward!  You can’t just show us that!  Make this happen!


Actually, water makes them multiply. Eating after midnight turns them into dicks. Nerds.

Minor complaints aside, Double Dragon Neon is a fantastic game I love replaying.  Of course, it’s a ton more fun when you’re playing “Bro-Op.”  Not just because it makes the game easier and spending time with a close bud is fun, but because you get to use the High-Five Stick!  That’s right; the right analogue stick is reserved exclusively for high-fiving your bro.  And it is magnificent.

High Five

You will never be this cool.

Thanks for Your Playing!  If you like Beat-Em-Ups or enjoy games that don’t take themselves seriously, you need to give Double Dragon Neon a playthrough.  It’s a short game (about 2-3 hours long) with high replayability and a bunch of funny moments that you just have to see.  Just make sure you bring a Bro to help you thrash all those Williamses.

April Fools! Top 5 Pranks Game Developers Pulled on Players

April Fools Feature

Source: Image:

Happy April Fools’ Day!

I was intending to be funny and original like how everybody else on the internet is on April Fools’ Day.  Instead of showing you the “Top 5 Tricks and Pranks Game Developers Have Pulled on Players” like the title promises, I was thinking of sending you to some LOLcats or Rickrolling you or something.  However, because I’m pretty sure you’d rather be looking at LOLcats (who wouldn’t!?), and nobody Rickrolls any more, I decided to be extra devious and instead present to you EXACTLY what you clicked.  Man, the looks on your faces must be priceless!

Plus, these pranks are a lot more hilarious than anything I could ever come up with.  Here are the Top 5 Tricks and Pranks Game Developers Have Pulled on Players!


5.) Eternal Darnkess: Sanity’s Requiem – The Sanity Effects

Silicon Knights outdid themselves with their Gamecube exclusive, Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem.  The game puts you in the role of Alexandra Roivas and charges you with solving your grandfather’s murder.  Also, there’s a book made of human skin and bone that allows you to experience past lives full of evil spirits and insanity.  Being the masterful sleuth she is, Alexandra discovers the two things are related.

Riveting plot aside, it’s the Sanity Effects that make this game so memorable.  While playing, if your character’s Sanity Meter depletes, strange things will happen, such as your head falling off, crying and whispering being heard off screen, or a message appearing onscreen informing you your controller is not connected.  These are temporary effects, but they are enough to disorient unassuming players and give enemies the upper hand.

There are some more bothersome effects, like when your controls get inverted or when the game appears to have turned your TV off, but it’s the “Blue Screen of Death” that threatens to delete your save file that’s the worst!  Well played, Silicon Knights.  You know it’s a good prank when you simultaneously make your victim’s heart stop while they scream profanities at a screen.


4.) Simcopter – “Himbos”

Jacques Servin, a programmer for Simcopter, is an excellent example of a “disgruntled employee.”  As legend has it, Mr. Servin felt that he was overworked and underpaid while working with Electronic Arts on Simcopter.  In order to get “back at The Man” for this injustice, Servin did what any of us would have done in his situation: Created “Himbos.”

Himbos – the male versions of “Bimbos” – were speedo enthusiasts who would gather en masse on certain dates and commence hugging and kissing one another.  They also had a tendency to run wantonly into your helicopter blades if you decided to land your helicopter for a closer look.  The ensuing chaos would require the freshly lacerated Himbos to be airlifted to the hospital, netting you some mad cash and helping you forget that this was pretty homophobic.

Needless to say, The Man soon discovered the Easter Egg, removed it from future releases of the game, and then removed Servin from their payroll.  It was a pretty funny prank meant for the developer/publisher, but players felt the brunt of the prank as well.


3.) Game Dev Tycoon – Pirates Trolled, Irony Ensues

Pirating software is not a victim-less crime; it can hurt developers’ and publishers’ bottom line.  Therefore, many developers have done some pretty unique and funny things to screw with pirates.  But sometimes a dose of irony can make for the best pranks.

Enter Greenheart Games: The developer behind Game Dev Tycoon, a game about creating and running a game company.  If that isn’t meta enough for you, what if I told you they released to torrent sites a cracked version of their game exclusively to mess with pirates?  Well, they did, and it’s scathing if you’re a thief.

The cracked version would only allow pirates to play to the first weekend.  At this point, a sales report would pop up onscreen, stating how downloading the game illegally could drive your company to bankruptcy.  Poignant, direct, and hilarious.

The best part?  The pirates got on message boards and started whining about how in-game pirating was ruining their in-game sales.  Mmm… the irony is soooooo delicious!


2.) Snatcher – Kojima Set Us Up the Bomb


Source: Konami

Oh, Konami’s Hideo Kojima, you prankster you!  You may know him for being the mastermind behind the Metal Gear series.  If that’s the case, then you’re no stranger to his fourth-wall breaking antics.

Well, Kojima started messing with players’ heads years before Metal Gear Solid with a game in the early-nineties called Snatcher.  Did I say “heads”?  Because I meant ears.  Hideo Kojima does not give a crap about players’ ears.

In Snatcher, there’s a part where players need to investigate an area.  While investigating, the in-game volume drastically decreases, and one of the investigators (a little robot named Metal Gear) asks if the protagonist can hear a faint ticking noise.  He then suggests that players turn up their TV’s volume so they might hear it, at which point a freaking bomb explodes at maximum volume!

Good one, Mr. Kojima.  I really wish I could hear all the praise lavished upon you for such a terrific prank.  But I can’t.  Because you blew out my eardrums in the early-nineties.


1.) Takeshi’s Challenge – The ENTIRE Game

Takeshi's Challenge


Takeshi Kitano was the host of a popular mid-eighties Japanese game show called Takeshi’s Castle, which some might know from its gag dubbed spoof, MXC.  Kitano has been labeled a writer, director, comedian, poet, teacher, and – for the sake of this article – a video game designer.  In short, Takeshi Kitano is an amazing man; too bad you wouldn’t know that by playing the only game he’s ever made, Takeshi’s Challenge.

Takeshi’s Challenge for the Famicom (the Japanese counterpart to the Nintendo Entertainment System) is a troll’s delight!  Basically, the game asks the player to do random, ridiculous things in order to progress in the game.  You have a karaoke section where you have to sing into the controller (Famicom controllers had built-in mics), there was a side-scrolling shooter section where you couldn’t go up once you went down, and there’s a part where you have to wait AN ENTIRE HOUR for a blank piece of paper to reveal itself as a treasure map.  Touching the controller wouldn’t only make you restart the hour, but it’d make you redo the stupid karaoke section!  Pure Evil!

People who bought the game were so confused that a strategy guide was printed mere weeks after the game’s release.  Unfortunately, the game was so cryptic that even the guide didn’t help, leading the original guide’s publishers to print a second edition.  All the while, Kitano presumably laughed atop his fresh pile of video game money.

Kitano’s game is considered an “Anti-Game,” a deconstruction of the medium that shows how pointless video games are.  Critics theorize that Kitano felt like people who wasted time doing inane and ultimately pointless tasks (such as playing and mastering video games) should reconsider “taking such things seriously,” which is a paraphrase from the game’s ending.  It seems like Kitano got everybody pretty good on that one, and that’s why Takeshi’s Challenge is the Best Prank a Game Developer has ever pulled on players.

The Legend of Zelda – A Timeless Quest for the Hero of Time

Zelda Feature

Today I’m talking about a game that needs no introduction.  Many gamers consider it one of the bests in the biz: The Legend of Zelda.  We all have fond memories of this classic, but I’d like to put away my rose-tinted spectacles and take a look at this venerable title with a modern, more contemporary and chic pair of eye wear, preferably a pair pleasing for the ladies.  I do this in the hopes of not only attracting the ladies, but to answer the question: “Is this landmark title still fun nearly 30 years after its original release?” Continue reading

Toilet Kids – A Real Turd of a Game

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I recently did a review of a possibly gay import game for the PC Engine that caught the eye of one JimmyHapa.  Not because it might be gay (I think), but because it’s an import title and he’s the host of Import Gaming FTW, an excellent show that takes a look at great games that didn’t make it to the West (or at least North America).  We got to talking, and he showed interest in reading about Toilet Kids, another japan-only PC Engine “gem.” Being the nice guy that I am, I obliged.  If only I had known what I was getting myself into.  If only I’d known…

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Guacamelee! – ¡Viva Los Luchadores!

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Quick! Think of some of the most badass things in the entire universe!

[Pause for Your Thinking…]

Times up!  I’m sure you thought of a bunch of things, but if Batman, monster trucks, fire, Mr. Rogers, or Luchadores didn’t come to mind, then please forfeit your testicles to your closest internet because you are a disgrace to all things that dangle.

If you did happen to think of those things, then Congratulations!  You may proceed to read my funny rambles about a game that focuses on the badassness that is the Luchador!  And that game is none other than Guacamelee! Continue reading

3D Space Harrier – Get Ready!

3D Space Harrier

I’m not a fan of 3D.  It’s an interesting concept… for a few minutes.  That probably sounds weird coming from a guy who loves his 3DS, but I bought the handheld because I knew the games would be awesome, not for its 3D capabilities.  I rarely ever turn up the 3D slider, and, when I do, it’s usually because I accidentally bumped it.  Keeping that in mind, I recently downloaded 3D Space Harrier from the 3DS eShop.  Not for the promise of a beloved classic coming to the third dimension, but because I’ve always been a huge fan of Space Harrier.  Throw in the fact that it was going to be a portable, arcade-perfect port, and you know I had some high expectations.  After playing through the game, I’m ecstatic to say 3D Space Harrier crushed my expectations, and, surprisingly, its 3D effects played a big part in that crushing.

Welcome to the Fantasy Zone!  GET READY!


Game: 3D Space Harrier

Console: 3DS

Developer: M2

Publisher: Sega

Release Year: 2013

“Space Harrier is a great game.  3D Space Harrier is Space Harrier; therefore, 3D Space Harrier is a great game.”


It’s simple logic, people.  I really can’t break it down any more than that for you.  I love Space Harrier and 3D Space Harrier, and you should, too!  But, for the love of God, don’t get 3D Space Harrier confused with Space Harrier 3-D, the original Space Harrier‘s shitty sequel on the Sega Master System with the shitty 3D glasses that made the game look like shit.

Space Harrier 3-D

 I bet the cartridge even tasted like shit.

Unlike the shit that was Shit Harrier 3-D, 3D Space Harrier is a fantastic game.  Sure, looking at the embedded trailer above pretty much shows all the game has to offer, but, to me, that’s not a bad thing.  The game is 18 levels of Harrier zooming forward while enemies and obstacles happen, and it’s your job to shoot and avoid them.  Simply put, there’s a beginning and an end to the game with some points to get in between – if you’re so inclined – and that’s it.  Though derivative, what the game lacks in gameplay variety it more then makes up for in bat-shit craziness, and isn’t that important, too?  I mean, what other game pits you up against fighter jets, wizards, aliens, dragons, mech suits, sentient boulders, and cyclopean wooly mammoths, all while flying around with a jetpack gun and rocking sweet blonde hair and a set of blue jeans and shades?  That’s right; only Space Harrier had the balls to shoot whatever!  And since it was the 80s, you better believe it all exploded!



Obviously, Space Harrier‘s fun, but it was also pretty revolutionary when it released to arcades in 1985 because its deluxe cabinet was very immersing.  Players could sit while they played the game and, as they moved the joystick to move their in-game character, the entire cabinet would move as well, simulating the direction Harrier was flying.  This was done by using a couple of motors, a wheel, a nut, and a shaft, which – besides being the sexiest sentence I’ve ever typed in my blog – is interesting because only until recently I was under the impression that the cabinet used hydraulics.  I honestly don’t care what kind of Black Magic Sega used to make the cabinet move as long as it kicked ass!  Which it totally did!

There was nary an uncrowded bowling alley or Chuck E. Cheese if they had one of these babies.

And that music!  Man, it takes me back!  There are only a few tracks in the game, but the Main Theme (which you heard in the above video) is the one you’ll hear the most.  There are other tracks you’ll hear during end-stage boss fights, but those are fleeting.  VERY fleeting.  Most bosses in Space Harrier can be taken out in mere seconds.  But it’s all good because 3D Space Harrier lets you listen to the game’s soundtrack in the Settings menu.  So you can rock out to your heart’s content!

But music isn’t the only thing 3D Space Harrier‘s Settings menu lets you tinker with.  Along with standard things like “Difficulty” and “Number of Lives,” you can also toggle on and off “Arcade Cabinet Noises” (whenever you shot your gun in the original cabinet, there was a very satisfying clicking noise that accompanied each shot) and “Moving Cabinet” (the top screen on the 3DS will tilt as if you were looking at the monitor in a moving cabinet).

Screen Size

Errbody in Fantasy Zone gettin’ tipsy…

The above picture isn’t the result of your drinking problem (though you should get that checked out), nor is the 3DS cocked to the side.  That’s a head-on screenshot.  What you see is the screen tilting as Harrier goes left, a result of toggling on the “Moving Cabinet” option.  And the border isn’t the 3DS.  In the Settings Menu, you can alter the “Screen Size,” creating a border that looks like you’re viewing a monitor deep within a cabinet.  All of these customizable options found in the Settings menu really help to recreate the deluxe cabinet experience I grew up with.  Granted, there was no way M2, the game’s developer, was going to exactly replicate that experience, but all the little details they added are more than enough to bring back all those fuzzy feelings I felt way back when, and I honestly can’t thank M2 enough for working so hard to simulate the deluxe cabinet.


Thank you, M2’s Naoki Horii and Sega’s Yosuke Okunari, for all the love you put in this game!  I’ll do my best not to make you the subject of any dick or fart jokes.

Though I’m not a fan of 3D, the tilting screen and deep-cabinet border only get better when you crank up that 3D slider.  I can say that the effect truly enhances 3D Space Harrier‘s gameplay and “feel.”  I’ve played through the game a few times now, and I can’t get enough of its 3D: the way it makes everything pop out at you as you zoom by, the way the deep-cabinet border makes you feel like you’re staring down into the monitor, the way those levels where you’re sandwiched between two checker-patterned surfaces blow my fucking mind!


If you value your soul, do not stare into the horizon…

There are 3 ways to move Harrier: The Circle Pad, the D-Pad, and the stylus.  Using the Circle Pad takes some getting used to because taking your thumb off the pad returns Harrier to the center of the screen.  If you don’t like that, use the D-Pad.  Lifting your thumb up doesn’t affect Harrier and he’ll stay put.  Lastly, the stylus moves Harrier to wherever you touch, and holding the stylus on the touch pad makes Harrier fire automatically, a wise design decision that would have greatly benefited another on-rails shooter for the 3DS…

Kid Icarus Stand

I can’t even make a funny caption.  The sight of this thing pisses me off too much.

What else can I say about 3D Space Harrier?  It’s an amazingly polished and entertaining love letter from M2 to Space Harrier and Sega fans, and it’s one of the only games I can think of that actually uses 3D effects in a way that makes the gaming experience better.  If you like shooters with a side order of campiness, or if you’re an 80s kid who remembers the deluxe cabinet and wants to relive those memories using the game’s unique settings, then I highly recommend this game.  M2 needs our support on this one, guys.  They did a wonderful job, and the industry needs to know we appreciate it.  I already downloaded my copy.  Have you?

Thanks for Your Playing!  What do you guys think about 3D in gaming?  Do you know of any ports that are actually better than their original game?  Hit me up in the comments!

Now, for your pleasure, here’s the bonus stage in Space Harrier, where Harrier gets to ride a dragon – Neverending Storystyle! – recklessly into trees in order to destroy them for points!  And, of course, the trees explode upon impact.  Because it’s the 80s, and FUCK TREES!

Bonus Stage


Ai Cho Aniki – Have A Gay Ol’ Time!

Ai Cho Aniki Feature PicYou ever play a game that’s just… odd, almost to the point of making you uncomfortable?  If so, then you’ve probably played the game I’m talking about today, Ai Cho Aniki.  It’s viewed as being “gay” and just all kinds of weird.  But that’s a very shallow way of looking at the game.  Is there anything beneath its sweaty, half-naked-man laden exterior that could be seen as beautiful?  Could Ai Cho Aniki just be misunderstood? Could it actually be a brilliant and fun game?  I think it’s time we gave this game a chance.  It’s 2014, after all!  Let’s try new things and new experience.  Who knows?  You just might like it… Continue reading

Toejam & Earl – What the Funk!?

TJ&E Feature Pic

Man, Toejam & Earl for the Genesis is one of my most nostalgic games!  A buddy and I used to play it a lot when we were kids.  Now, you’d already know that if you’d read my post, Top Ten Things I’m Ashamed of as a Gamer.  If you’d read that, you’d know I’m ashamed I’ve never actually beaten this game.  Well, it turns out people I know actually read what I write, and one of my closest friends since junior high texted me to let me know how much bullshit me not beating TJ&E was.  He demanded I stop crying on the internet and come over so we could beat this shit.  Of course I obliged.  It’s not everyday two dudes can get together, sit down, and cuss at a 20-plus-year-old video game while his pregnant wife barfs in the bathroom all night. Continue reading